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New Chair appointed to lead reimagination of West Princes Street Gardens

Posted: 10th March 2020
  • John Campbell QC has been elected successor to Norman Springford as Chairman of The Ross Development Trust, a charity created to spearhead the reimagination of the Gardens
  •  Mr Campbell is also a Trustee of the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, and of Planning Aid Scotland, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

One of Scotland’s senior lawyers has been announced as the new chairman of The Ross Development Trust, the charity working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver The Quaich Project in West Princes Street Gardens.

John Campbell, a trustee of the charity for two years, takes on the role as Chair following Norman Springford’s recent decision to step down after over three years in post.

The Quaich Project is a public-private partnership between the Ross Development Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council.

John Campbell passed as advocate at the Scottish bar in 1981. He is a former Chairman, and now a Trustee of the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, Scotland’s largest Building Preservation Trust, and is an Honorary Fellow of the RIAS.

He has considerable experience in planning and environmental law, particularly in energy issues, and in construction, arbitration, and data protection. He works all over the UK for developers, councils, NGOs, community groups, and individuals.

John Campbell said: “I am extremely honoured to have been elected by my colleagues to chair the Ross Development Trust and to work with so many talented people in bringing this amazing project to completion. I recognise my responsibility in ensuring the Gardens remain as treasured and relevant to future generations as they are today.

“The Quaich Project reimagines one of the finest urban spaces in Western Europe and the improvements we have planned will markedly improve accessibility, bio-diversity and amenity without losing any of the benefits currently enjoyed by residents and visitors to the city.

“The tired 1930’s bandstand and the lifeless shelters, the poor quality auditorium and the difficult access points will be replaced by the most imaginative and user-friendly designs for public space the City has ever seen. Our recent consultation of Edinburgh residents has informed our proposals and confirmed that the designs we will present to the city’s planners in the coming months are very much on the right track towards meeting, and indeed exceeding, the public’s expectations of a world-class public garden which will remain free to all to enjoy.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener said: “I would like to thank Norman Springford for his significant support and commitment to the Quaich Project since it began. Thanks to his generosity, the Ross Fountain has been to returned to its 19th Century glory and the Gardener’s Cottage beautifully refurbished.

“The Project is providing us with an opportunity to make sure everyone can enjoy the Gardens in the future, particularly those who currently find access difficult, while allowing the Ross Theatre to be restored to its rightful place as a vibrant community hub at the heart of our city centre.

“Incoming Chair, John Campbell QC, brings a wealth of experience to the role and I very much look forward to working with him to make sure everyone can enjoy this wonderful asset for generations to come.”

David Ellis, Managing Director at The Ross Development Trust, added: “Since John joined the Ross Development Trust’s Board more than two years ago, his experience and wisdom has helped guide our strategic direction. We’re delighted that he will be leading the board as we enter a crucial time for the Trust.

“Our vision is to make the Gardens accessible to everyone in the city, reinvigorating underfunded infrastructure and creating a more nature-friendly greenspace in the centre of Edinburgh. I’m looking forward to working closely with John to realise that vision.”

The Quaich Project aims to raise £25 million to deliver the City’s and the Community’s vision and ambition for West Princes Street Gardens.

To find out more about The Quaich Project and the Ross Development Trust, please visit:

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